Dodgers 9, Reds 6
Chad Billingsley had trouble finding the exact words to describe his game-turning at-bats.
''I don't really know how to talk about hitting,'' the Dodgers pitcher said.
No problem. His perfectly timed swings needed little elaboration.
Billingsley drove in a career-high three runs with a homer, a double and a bases-loaded walk, and Los Angeles beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-6 on Sunday to extend its domination of the series.
Matt Kemp added a two-run homer - his third in a sequence of five at-bats - as the Dodgers improved to 28-10 against the Reds since 2006.
Billingsley (5-4) lasted only five innings, but helped himself build a big lead.
He hit a solo homer - the second of his career - in the second inning off Travis Wood (4-4). Billingsley drew a bases-loaded walk during the Dodgers' three-run third. His RBI double to the warning track in right field ended Wood's outing in the fifth and made it 8-4.
''Guys have been swinging the bats well lately,'' said Billingsley, batting .304 after his big game. ''We jumped out on them early. I didn't have my best stuff from the get-go. I knew it was going to be a battle.''
It ended with a rookie's great escape.
Josh Lindblom made his second big league appearance with none out in the ninth and loaded the bases. He retired Paul Janish on an infield fly, gave up a sacrifice fly to Chris Heisey and fanned Drew Stubbs to finish it.
''I think I was trying to be too fine to those first couple hitters, trying to get on the edges,'' Lindblom said. ''I can't keep putting myself in those situations because eventually my luck's going to run out.''
Los Angeles took two of three in the series, which included the Dodgers' biggest comeback win of the season. They rallied from five runs down to an 11-8 victory in 11 innings on Saturday that featured Kemp's solo homer, grand slam and season-high six RBIs.
Kemp's two-run shot off Wood in the first inning gave him 16 homers overall, one shy of Cincinnati's Jay Bruce for the NL lead. Kemp went 7 for 11 in the series with three homers and five walks.
''I feel real comfortable right now,'' he said. ''I think a lot of us are. We've been swinging the bats really well.''
Los Angeles won the last two games with long rallies, batting around three times in a span of seven innings. The Dodgers sent nine batters to the plate for three runs in the third.
Rod Barajas doubled over third base with two outs for a pair of runs, and Wood intentionally walked James Loney to load the bases and bring up Billingsley. Wood walked him as well, throwing a full-count fastball off the plate.
The left-hander gave up a career-high eight runs in 4 2-3 innings, putting more pressure on the NL's busiest bullpen. Reds relievers lead the league in innings.
Reds pitchers walked a season-high 10 batters - two intentionally - and four of them scored. The Dodgers had at least one baserunner in every inning and stranded 14 runners overall.
Stubbs hit a solo homer, and Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips drove in two runs apiece for the Reds, who have lost 13 of their last 18 games. They fell back to .500, a season-high 5 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis in the NL Central.
''That's just baseball,'' Heisey said. ''No matter how good you are, you're going to have a stretch where things don't go your way, like the Red Sox at the beginning of the season. We're .500, but I think we're better. I know we're better.''
Billingsley had a pivotal moment in the fifth, when the Reds got two runners aboard with two outs. The Reds sent up pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes, who was 5 for 7 against the right-hander with a homer. Billingsley got Gomes to line out to second baseman Aaron Miles.
NOTES: Billingsley's other homer was a solo shot off Josh Banks in San Diego on July 5, 2009. ... Reds manager Dusty Baker moved RHP Chad Reineke into the bullpen on Sunday, clearing the way for RHP Edinson Volquez to return from the minors and start on Tuesday against the Cubs. Baker said it's ''a good maybe'' that Volquez will be back. He was sent to the minors to fix his control problems. ... 3B Scott Rolen got the day off. He's got a bad cold and is in a 3-for-18 slump.